Up and running
Leaders of Horsham’s new $4.4-million Kalkee Road Children’s and Community Hub believe the new integrated model of care will have long-reaching benefits for both users and staff.
The hub, which combines health, education and support services under one roof in Horsham’s north, officially opened to the community yesterday.
Horsham Rural City Council’s maternal and child health service is the first to operate out of the new building.
Council human services manager Mandi Stewart said the hub concept would provide families with easier access to services and to be more informed with a range of staff to address needs and concerns.
“For example, maternal and child health nurse Jenny Bull is also the lactation consultant,” she said.
“If she needs to, she can get one of the other girls to help someone out while she consults about lactation.
“If one of the staff needs to consult with another, it gives us more flexibility.”
Ms Stewart said the hub’s maternal and child health nurses provided an excellent service.
“People forget that these nurses are triple-trained,” she said.
“They have to have a degree in nursing, a degree in midwifery, then they have to go back and study child development.
“They also have to do an immunisation qualification.
“They are really qualified professionals.”
Mrs Bull oversaw the first family appointment in the new centre yesterday, welcoming Horsham couple Lisa Currie and Trent Johnson and their daughter, Addelyn.
“Addelyn had her four-month assessment to ensure she meets her development milestones,” Mrs Bull said.
“The maternal and child health visits are about health promotion and allow us to pick up if there are any developmental delays.”
Mrs Bull said visits were more family orientated these days compared with several years ago.
“Once upon a time it was only the mums who came, but we get a lot more dads these days,” she said.
“The sessions are very inclusive. We’re hoping to have an after-hours immunisation session once a month to allow more fathers to attend.”
Ms Stewart said additional services would move into the centre in stages.
“Next week supported playgroup moves into the playgroup room, and immunisation and the next parents group come down in March,” she said.
“Part of it is about commissioning the building, because it has so many electronics.
“We want to be able to fix everything as we go and make sure the sensors don’t let children into areas they shouldn’t be, that everything locks and so on.”
Horsham District Kindergarten Association will run three and four-year-old kindergarten programs, along with afterkinder care and specialty programs, from the hub in term two.
“There will be lots of information coming out, but we’ve been a bit quiet with publicity because we didn’t want to be overrun while we were settling in,” Ms Stewart said.
“But so far, so good for the building. It’s been going well.”